Man, how much misery can Nashville pack into a single episode? Judging by tonight’s (and last week’s!) quite a bit. Seriously, this show is reveling in its characters being down in the dumps. The only things that seem to be holding up are Rayna’s and Gunnar’s hair.
While Juliette may be the worst off right now, Deacon is certainly making sure his name is part of that conversation. The episode opens on the day of Beverly’s funeral, and rather than use that as a time to come together with family, Deacon uses it to shun Scarlett and push away Rayna and the kids. Now, he deserves a bit of leeway because he just lost his sister and he’s feeling guilty about it, but refusing to talk to Scarlett is unacceptable. That girl needs you, Deacon!
Speaking of ignoring responsibilities, Juliette is still waking up way too late, ignoring her family, and missing wonderful press opportunities. As Jeff informs her, though, that’s going to have to change because a reporter is coming to follow her around for a few days to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to be Juliette Barnes. Of course, Juliette does what she always does and puts on a performance, working out in the mornings and pretending to really care about her fans while on the sidelines she’s scoring Adderall and popping sleeping pills.
Avery certainly misses having Juliette at home, but for now he’s finding comfort in Emily’s help. She’s taking care of the baby while Avery looks for work, which involves asking to meet the latest Highway 65 signing, Markus, and pitch him on being the producer on his album. He’s a big fan and knows his music so he thinks he’d be a good fit for his transition to country.
While Avery is just focused on getting a job to support his family, Juliette is continually leaving them behind and lashing out. When she’s shown a picture of Avery, Emily, and Cadence at the park by a stupid (seriously) radio DJ, she calls Emily and screams at her and calls her a cheating whore. It’s clear that Juliette is sick, and this episode really drives home how far gone she is and how badly she needs professional help.
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Meanwhile, Rayna is preparing for an appearance at the Grand Ole Opry, where she’ll be performing and Layla will be debuting. Deacon decides he’s not going to go because he doesn’t want to have any more “I’m sorry for your loss” conversations, and he certainly doesn’t want any “funeral casserole.” Instead he’d rather wallow, which is fine, but stop pushing everyone away!
The night at the Grand Ole Opry is a big one with a lot of implications. There’s Layla and the pressure of her first performance, and then there’s Markus, who Rayna is bringing along to meet a few producers and just generally get a look at the world of country music. This is Markus the Rock Star though so it doesn’t take long for him to literally steal the spotlight.
He crashes the stage when Rayna and Layla are about to perform together, forcing Layla to storm off the stage after he suggests him and Rayna perform a duet. It’s a good performance, but Rayna is a little miffed. She feels he not only disrespected Layla’s opening performance but also the Opry in general. Still, she’s ready to have him on board, and he agrees to have Avery produce his record because that’s what his gut is telling him.
NEXT: Hugging a textbook[pagebreak]
While all of this craziness is happening, Scarlett is trying to deal with the loss of her mother and, in essence, the loss of Deacon. Zoey’s back in town at least, providing a shoulder to cry on and a couple sage words of advice. The two have a chat and Scarlett realizes that she’s not getting a lot of comfort from Caleb — it’s like “hugging a textbook” she says — but she’s not sure where else to turn.
Caleb is just as frustrated. He obviously cares for Scarlett, but he doesn’t know how to express it. He’s too clinical, too much of a doctor when he’s around her. Looking for help he seeks out Gunnar to help him write a song to express his feelings. Gunnar agrees, and the ensuing song gives Scarlett the comfort she needs. Now, the question is what happens when she finds out all the lovely poetry really came from Gunnar? I bet love things happen, but who knows?
With just about everyone coming back to a general place of understanding and calm, other than Deacon, who’s just breaking mirrors and scaring his children, the focus shifts back to the ongoing saga of Avery, Emily, Cadence, and Juliette. In the middle of his meeting with Markus, Avery gets called away by Emily because Cadence is running a high fever and needs to go to the hospital.
When he gets there and sees that things are serious he reaches out to Jeff. He tells him that he needs Juliette’s number because it’s an emergency with Cadence, and even Jeff’s cold heart can sympathize with his urgency. When Avery calls her, though, he gets her party friend, who barely manages to get the message to Juliette. To be fair, Juliette is passed out on the bed after being injected by a terrible doctor and human being, so there’s little chance she’d have responded anyways. With that Avery knows that Juliette may never be coming back, may never again be who she once was. Still, he doesn’t know just how sick she is.
Where the first three episodes of the season really moved the plot along, tonight’s episode takes a bit of a pause, moving characters into the right spots for story lines down the road. It’s not the most compelling television, but it’s a good place to go after last week’s emotional gut punch. Deacon is trying hard to not have a drink, Scarlett is growing closer to Caleb thanks to Gunnar, Layla and Jeff seem to be going public (ewww), and maybe even Markus, Layla, and Rayna can all share the spotlight together. Juliette though? She needs help, and fast.